When Caleb walks
into the vestry, from the chapel, he is dressed for the wedding. He wears tails and patent
leather shoes. He looks neat and handsome, in a way that ten year olds rarely do.
Caleb has come for his EPK interview. EPK stands for Electronic Press Kit,
a videocassette that contains video footage of the making of the movie and interviews with
all the actors. These materials are sent out to television stations when the movie is
about to come out. The hope is that the footage will be shown on news programs and it will
interest people enough that they might be provoked to go see the movie in a theater.
Rachel is doing the interviews for the
EPK. She is a full time Cypress employee and has been spending much of her time in re Cherry
working on intellectual property issues and publicity.
Over two days here at midshoot she will talk to nearly all the actors,
excepting Shalom--who will sit for her later, during a
less hectic part of her shooting schedule--and David,
who prefers to wait until he sees the finished film before doing publicity-related chores.
Caleb is one of the first to walk into the little room and set himself in
front of the simple, but elegant cabinets full of robes and chalices and candleholders. He
takes his place on a fine upholstered stool, as Bernard,
the cameraman, sets his lights and positions his digital video camera and fastens the tiny
lav microphone to Caleb's lapel.
Caleb is thrilled to get a mike
In comparison to the various set ups during the movie, this is simple, but
it is still time consuming. Caleb fidgets.
"Will those shoes stay that shiny?" Rachel asks him.
"No, I doubt it," he says. His smile is easy and winning.
"Oh, I think they'll make it," Rachel says. "There's just
one more day."
"I wish I could wear my real clothes," Caleb says. "Then I
could be the real Caleb Archer, not this Jack dude."
Jack is the character Caleb plays in Cherry. He and his
younger sister, Red, played by Kelly, are given the old
heave-ho by their parents. Abandoned on the streets of New York, their fate soon falls
into the hands of Leila and Dr. Beverly Kirk and Menu Man.
And, oddly, the adults' fates becomes vested in that of the children.
Cherry is Caleb's first movie, but as a pianist and
singer he is an experienced performer. And he has had acting lessons and clearly has given
a lot of thought to what he does in front of the camera.
"When I'm playing Jack people say you have to put yourself in his
position. But I don't do that. I just act the way they ask me to. But if they asked me to
cry, maybe then I'd put myself in Jack's position. (then, he smiles) Or, I'd keep my eyes
open real wide for a while."
One of the intellectual property issues Rachel worked on prior to the
start of shooting involved the costumes the professional clown, Eddie, wears in his
various scenes throughout the movie.
The script called for appearances by Bozo, Batman, Gumby and Superman. But
while it appeared that the doctrine of "fair use" would support the filmmakers
if they decided to use these trademarked characters, the doctrine of "deep
pockets" threatened to tie them up in court for years to come.
To avoid that potential hazard, Jon rewrote
Eddie's scenes using non trademarked characters instead. One of these is the superhero,
The Defender, who wears a small mask, has a cape and the letter D on his chest, with the
concave cutout of the "D" appearing to be a silhouette of a hawk's head.
The work is Mary Ann's and to this
somewhat older eye is a flawless creation. I mean, I grew up on Spiderman and Captain
America and if the Defender lacks the 20 years of stories behind him they have, well, he
is easily recognized as a superhero (even if Eddie isn't exactly rippling with muscles).
Shalom, Donovan and Aleksa
But a ten year old has a different take.
"I'm not trying to bomb the movie," Caleb said, "but I
don't like the Defender that much. He wears a purple costume, and what superhero wears a
purple costume? And they should've said what he can do. What super powers does he have? We
This represents the first market testing, and it doesn't look good for the
10 year old boy market. Superhero inauthenticity is not easily overlooked in this demo. On
the other hand, over the weekend, I showed a picture of the Defender to Lucas, a 7-year
old boy, who said, "Wow, a purple superhero. Cool."
Which I thought was a good sign, until he asked, "What does he
Ultimately, it doesn't likely matter. I don't think anyone around the
production is counting on the elementary school-aged boy audience. At least, they